32 – Fear

“There is no point in killing us.  We already told our superiors what your secret is.   You are finished.   Anything you do from this point on will not help your case.”    You explain reasonably.   This worked on the lizard guards when Nanny was kidnapped.  You see no reason why it wouldn’t work here.

You meet the Headmaster’s eyes and begin to slip into her mind.  The headmaster’s mind is a wild and untamed place filled with rage and cunning.   Her surface thoughts almost tumble from your grasp, but you manage to hold on to them.  When you examine the headmaster’s secret, your heart skips a beat.

“An Anathama!”  You scream, backing away.   There will be no reasoning with the false headmaster.  “She’s a Lunar imposter!”   Wanahton’s eye widen and he throws his knife at the Lunar.   The Lunar quickly recovers from the confusion you caused in her mind and casually parries the knife with her sword.

“Run!” Wanahton shouts as he throws another knife at the Lunar.   “I’ll keep her busy.”  With a flick of his wrist, the parried Starmetal knife returns to his hand.

You race to the entrance of the cave, but the Lunar blocks your way.   “Stay put, Cnead.  I will deal with you after I’m done with your friend here.”   Something about the lunar draws your eye to them and you are rooted to the ground with terror.  The smell of rotten blood fills your nose.  Blood apes!  There are blood apes in the cave!   Where are they?

The Lunar and Wanahton circle each other.   “You didn’t know I was here.  You were just here for the Sorcery girl.” The Lunar muses.    “Not the kind of task I’d expect two agents of Fate to be send on.  Unless…”  She smiles, showing her teeth.  “Perhaps Karma really does exist.   Your people have killed so many of our young.   Now it is time for your elders to feel that same pain.”  The headmaster throws her sword at Wanahton.

Wanahton ducks the sword, but it was a distraction.  The Lunar leaps across the cave to Wanahton.   As she leaps, the glowing silver symbol of a No Moon caste mark blazes on her forehead and she transforms into a sleek orange striped tiger.    The tiger catches Wanahton off balance and knock him to the ground.  She digs her claws into Wanahton’s side.   Wanahton grabs hold of the tiger and attempts to throw her to the ground, but the lunar sinks her teeth into his shoulder.

While Wanahton is wrestling with the Lunar, Chiyoko and Aiko run back into the cave.   Chiyoko, her anima still flared, stands between you and the brawl.   Aiko goes to you and shakes you. “Svante?  Svante, snap out of it.”

“Watch out!  The Lunar summoned blood apes!   Can’t you smell them?  They must be dematerialized!”  You ignore the itching scar on your leg and mentally prepare for the blood apes to appear.

“What is a Lunar?” Aiko sniffs the air.  “I don’t smell anything.”

Chiyoko comes over to examine you.  “It’s the Anathema.  My father told me that Anathema are a capable of parading your greatest fears in your mind.”

“So he is useless.”  Aiko declares in disgust.

“I’m not useless!”  You counter.  Don’t they smell the blood apes in the cave?   Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

The two girls ignore you. “Should I even suggest we grab the idiot and run for help?”  Aiko asks Chiyoko.

Chiyoko turns to assess the battle.  Instead of a tiger, Wanahton seems to be fighting a fury of teeth and claws.  In spite of the Lunar attacks, Wanahton has few injuries.  Yet the tiger still has Wanahton on his back.    Wanahton tried to throw the Lunar off of him again, but cannot summon enough strength.   His caste mark appears on his forehead.  “I don’t think Svante’s friend can take on the Lunar alone.”  With a wave of her hand, Chiyoko summons a flaming sword.   “We can’t let the Anathema run free.”

“Of course not.”   Aiko’s mouth spreads into a fierce smile.  “I can still summon the blood ape.  With the battle, there will be plenty of blood to offer it.  It won’t fight the binding.”

“No!” you shout.  “No more blood apes!”   You grab a hold of Aiko and hold her in an arm lock.   “I won’t let you summon any more of those monsters.”

“Wait!  Don’t flare your anima, Aiko!  Svante!  Let Aiko go!  The Anathema is the real enemy here!”   Chiyoko walks over to face you.

“The Anathema is messing with your head, Svante,”  Chiyoko stands as close as she can get without her anima burning you.  “There are no blood apes in the cave.  If we are going to survive this Wyld Hunt, we are going to need every advantage we can get.”

“We don’t have time for this!”  Aiko cries out as she struggles in your grip.  You hear Wanahton scream in pain and out of the corner of your eye, you see the yellow glow of his anima.  Your terrorized mind processes Chiyoko’s words, but can you really take the risk of her being wrong?

“Svante, look at me. “  You meet Chiyoko’s gaze.  Her lovely scarlet eyes reminded of you of that moment back on the beach.  “I need you to trust me.”

What do you do?

  • Overcome your fear and fight the anathema as Cnead Svante with the headmaster’s sword.   It might be unwieldy, as you are not attuned to the Sword, but even now you cannot break your cover.
  • Overcome your fear and the Anametha as Svante Vissher.   Shed your False Identity, activate Blade of the Battle Maiden, and fight will full access to your power.
  • Stop Aiko from summoning the blood ape. If she fails to bind it, then you will have two enemies to fight.
  • Run and get help.   There is no way the four of you can take the Lunar down alone.
  • Other

((OOC:  Not Svante’s proudest moment, but welcome to the Station of Battles or as it is better known as the Trial of Fear.    The last two options aren’t particularly heroic, but they are options.   ))

(( When this chapter is done, I’ll do a “man behind the curtain” post.  ))

((Wanahton gets all the best fight scenes.   ))

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